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Founding Fathers

Founding Fathers
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Jesuit's storied soccer program

Soccer is arguably the most successful of the smorgasbord of outstanding sports programs at Jesuit High School, and many of those who made the soccer program possible returned Friday evening (Jan. 9) to Himes Avenue to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Jesuit soccer.

The historical roots of the remarkably successful program were remembered during a festive two-hour reception in Faber Hall. The soccer alumni then were honored twice, first during halftime of the Jesuit-Tampa Catholic soccer match at Corral Memorial Stadium (a 5-0 Jesuit win), and then again at midcourt of the jam-packed Tiger Palace, where Jesuit basketball was defeating TC 65-48 in a locally televised game.

At the reception were numerous representatives of the school’s first soccer team in 1974-75, the program’s “founding fathers,” who were led by John Hamilton ’77; several from the 1979-80 team that elevated the program from club to Varsity status; and members of 1994-95 state championship team, including Jesuit soccer’s current head coach Eric Sims ’95, who are celebrating the 20th anniversary of that championship season.

Jesuit soccer is a perennial powerhouse that has captured six state titles, the most of any Jesuit sport, and a national title in 2001. During a seven-year stretch beginning in 1994-95, the Tigers were either state champion (five times) or runner-up (twice) every season. The team has captured the District title in all but two seasons over the past 30 years.

Jesuit soccer also has distinguished itself academically, earning the FHSAA’s Academic Team Champion award last season for having the best team grade point average of any Class 5A soccer program.

Please view the photo slideshow below from Friday's festivities:

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